Memphis Police Director reflects on last days in office

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Click the link above to listen to Director Michael Rallings radio broadcast as he signs off for the last time as Memphis Police Director.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — “I just hope that I made some type of difference in Memphis and in the Memphis Police Department,” says Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings.

He is reflecting on his 31 years with MPD. On Wednesday. he retires.

“So I look forward to dressing down, not jumping up every weekend, going out to work, and just kind of stepping back, but I’ve had an awesome career,” said Rallings.

A career that took him from Undercover Narcotics to the Top Spot on the force. Now he is reflecting on police encounters with the public that are turning deadly around the country.

“I do understand the frustration that we see in communities including Memphis and all over about the challenge of police and community relations, but I think we just all need to resolve to try to make sure we understand both sides of the equation,” says Rallings.

Rallings found himself in the thick of the issue in 2016 as Black Lives Matter protestors took over the I-40 bridge. Many say his negotiations prevented a tragedy. We asked him if that would be a part of his legacy.

“I hope it is part of  ‘our’ legacy, because I wasn’t there alone. There were some very brave men and women, says Rallings.

Crime is down 10-percent in Memphis, but homicides are up and the killings often involve people who are acquainted. Rallings says there needs to be an outcry.

As for what he wishes he could have done.

“I wish I could have  saved the lives of the people that are not here anymore with us, you know, protect kids more. We did an enormous amount of community outreach but I wish we could have done more. I wish that we were fully staffed at 2,500 police officers,” Rallings said.

And for the incoming police director, he says they will need the support of the community.

“Whoever it is, internal or external, they’re going to need support. They’re going to need prayer. They’re going to need patience and they’re going to need the proper funding, the proper equipment to do this very difficult job,” says Rallings.

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